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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer I in

June, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 2686
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Our group arrived in George Town throughout Saturday and were promptly met
by a taxi sent by Explorer Ventures for a $10.00, fifteen minute ride to
the Marine Services dock. Before introductions were even made, we were
instructed by the Captain to set up our dive gear. Once that was done, they
hauled our baggage to our rooms and we were allowed to explore the boat.

The boat is 100 long and efficiently laid out. The upper level has a
couple tables under the shade and eight lounge chairs tied down out in the
sun. The four cabins with private baths are on this level; two have double
beds and two have double beds with upper bunk. The main level includes the
dive deck, dining area, and galley. Down the steps in the dining area are
the five cabins that share two showers and heads. Each cabin has a double
bed, upper bunk, sink, and no window. All the cabins were small with not
much standing room, but no one spent much time in them. Sharing the two
bathrooms didnt elicit any complaints; there was also a toilet on the dive
deck, along with two hot water showers. 

The dive deck has the usual tank stations around the perimeter with cubby
holes below. There is a 3-tiered camera table that quickly got crowded with
more than half a dozen photographers and all their paraphernalia. There is
a large camera rinse tank and another rinse tank for wet suits with an
added disinfectant. Two wet suit hanging bars were in the center area, out
of the way enough that they didnt slap you in the face or get in the way.
With a group of friends, at least, it felt surprisingly roomy. Going down
the steps at the stern was a good-sized entry area, and getting up the
ladder was easy with the nice wide steps that were easy on the feet. The
steps were closer together than normal so smaller steps were required.

Breakfast consisted of cereal, hot oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, bacon, and
bagels. Lunch was anything from tacos to rigatoni, usually up on the sun
deck. Supper ranged from steak to fish, served in the dining room. The food
was very good and the chef tried to accommodate special dietary requests:
unfortunately he was planning on leaving the boat for other opportunities.
Soft drinks and crystal light were always available, as were cookies and
fruit. Beer and wine were complimentary, and the common rule of no diving
after you start drinking was enforced.

We started our trip with two easy dives about an hour away from George
Town, at Stocking Island, then did a couple more on a sunken tugboat,
including a night dive, while we waited for one suitcase to make its
appearance. When it didnt show up, the boat headed for Long Island early
the next morning. The farther east we went in the Bahamas, to Conception
Island and Sal Salvador, the better the diving. On a night dive at
Conception Island we watched a good-sized octopus fold itself over a fish
which we could see trying to escape. We also saw turtles, schools of jacks,
plenty of other fish and lots of cleaning stations, some with waiting
lines. It was great to see so many decent sized Nassau and tiger groupers
along with their smaller cousins. We also followed a dozen blue parrotfish
and a lone hammerhead. At Wedge Point we wandered over to a coral ridge
that evidently doesnt get much traffic from divers, as the fish were more
curious than usual and easy to approach.

After spending a bumpy 3+ hours, we arrived at San Salvador with its deep
walls, swim-troughs, expansive sandy slopes, and continual algae growth. We
spent the next three days there and saw a dozen or more hammerhead sharks,
huge porcupinefish, massive coral walls and barrel sponges, and lots of
fish life. Oscar the grouper played with everyone and we didnt want to
leave. We had requested diving at Rum Cay but were told they are rarely
able to get there due to wind and sea conditions.

The last morning of diving, a 6am dive option was offered before the trek
back toward George Town. The last dive was a very silty low-visibility dive
off Conception Island rather disappointing as a last dive. Then it was
back to George Town where the missing bag was waiting for its owner. We had
dinner at a local restaurant and partied the night away. Saturday morning
we were eventually politely kicked off the boat so they could get it ready
for the next group; we wandered around town and eventually strolled back to
the boat where the taxis were already loaded with our luggage, waiting to
take us to the airport.  

It had been over 20 years since we dove in the Bahamas; we were pleasantly
surprised at the quality of the diving and number of hammerhead sharks we
saw. Being on a liveaboard was great because neither the heat nor
mosquitoes were a problem, and we were able to dive up to five times a day.
We liked just about everything about the boat except the diving schedule
and sites on the last day and our super strict head divemaster who wouldn't
even let us in the dining area long enough to get a hot cup of tea after a
dive if we had on damp swimsuits. There didn't seem to be any kind of
bonding between crew members that is usually seen on a liveaboard, but very
few underwater restrictions were imposed on our experienced group--the
in-water staff was happy to be able to go off on their own with their
cameras once everyone was in the water. All in all a great time.
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Diving Guide to Bahamas
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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